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  1. #1
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    Default To any parents of 5th or 6th Graders...advice on math placement test

    I am not sure how to formulate my question but we found out today that DS1 will have to take a placement test for 6th Grade math when we return to the US this summer. I tried to ask what the placement test would consist of/cover but she was way too general for me to be sure if he has seen the same things and at the same length here in France as the kids he will be testing with this summer.

    And although he is bright boy and will probably do very well I don't want him to be penalize for something he "should have known" if I can help it and review with him those things now....ie like the Amercian systems of weights vs the metic system that he knows so well.

    So any suggestions on websites, review books or better yet if you can tell me in general what your 5th Grader or 6th Grader has been studying this year in math so I can compare what he is dong here now that would be helpful. Or anyone have a child take a placement test for 6th grade math in NJ before and can give some more insight that would be wondeful?

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

  2. #2
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I would try to find info specific to your district. For exmaple, in our district, starting in 4th grade they differentiate pretty strongly in math. Some 4th grade classes will do 4th grade math and some do 4th and 5th grade math (called compacted math). All 6th graders that a placement test in 6th to see whether they take algebra, Math 7 Honors or regular Math 7.

    So I would try to find out what is covered for your district because that can definitely affect the math track that he is placed into.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

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    Quote Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
    I would try to find info specific to your district. ....

    So I would try to find out what is covered for your district because that can definitely affect the math track that he is placed into.

    Exactly my concern!!

    I didn't find that information on the Princeton school site but I will look again...are there other ways to find out this information for each district? While doing internet searches for placement test I have found nothing that covers a specific towns...just the state run standarized test mostly those from TX and CA but not NJ.

    And his placement in his math track is very important and why I am a bit concern but when I asked the register what would be covered in the placement test she was again very general...multiplication, division, fractions, word problems, volume, area,... but at what level these questions are and which are empasize more I could not get her to give me more details!


    Thank you for the suggestions Beth though!

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    egoldber is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I would call or e-mail the school directly and ask to speak with someone there who can help you. Maybe ask to speak with a 5th or 6th grade teacher. At my school, the assistant principal is generally the one who handles these sorts of requests.

    Also, most school districts have some sort of local Yahoo group or message board. I would think that area would have several and would be a good source of BTDT info for you.

    Good luck!
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

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    nfowife is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Also, in addition to contacting the school/teacher, I would also want to mention that most middle schools (and high schools for that matter) allow the parent to put the child in a higher level than they may test into or qualify for. I don't usually advocate this because it often is a case of parental wishful thinking, but if your child doesn't place where you think he should be due to the discrepancies of being taught in Europe vs. the US, then it might be something you would want to look into.
    M, mommy to A 2005, E 2007, and L 2010

  6. #6
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    I'm wondering if there is a way to get your hands on the textbook or workbook they are currently using in your new district for the grade he would've been finishing up. I'm sure you can find out what they are using if you call the district or school. This way you can review it with him this summer.
    DD1 - 1996
    DD2 - 1999
    DD3 - 2005

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    noodle is offline Silver level (200+ posts)
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    I'm not in NJ, but I have a fifth grader who has been taking sixth grade math this year and who is taking a placement test on Thursday.
    I went to a meeting last week to learn about the new math curriculum our district is adopting next year.

    I didn't take a lot of notes about 5th grade math, but I underlined long division and remember talk about multi-digit long division with remainders.

    Definitely call the school and ask to speak to somebody who teaches 5th grade math. I obviously can't speak for your school, but our math teacher would be WAY more helpful if one were inquiring about the 5th grade curriculum, rather than "what's on the test." Yours may be more friendly.

    And FWIW, our district goes pretty strictly by the placement test (combined with performance on a springtime standardized test if the results are borderline). Parent requests are NOT honored, but teachers do occasionally move a student if the placement proves to be way off.
    Jane

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    Thank you all for the great advice...

    I assumed that this was a standarized math placment test for all 6th graders in NJ to place them on the correct math track in middle school and not a district by district test...so based on the recommendation from PP I decided to send an email to the district asking more about the test as well as the textbooks that the 5th Graders are using in the district...figure it won't hurt if he reviews what they did in English and History/Geography as well as Math this year!

    Hopefully they will be able to give me all the information I need.

    I hesitate at this point in time to call the elementary school because they are already telling us they they are not sure to place DD in 4th Grade next year or have her repeat 3rd Grade due to her DOB (she will be 8 in August) it has so far nothing to do with her abilities because they haven't even seen her packet from the school here yet! They are just very hung up on her DOB so until I have everything from the school here translated I want to minimize my communication with them or ask them for the information for their 5th grade textbook directly. I don't want to be considered a PITB before even getting to town!

    Interestingly the middle school didn't react or raise any flags about the fact that my son who turned 10 on Sunday will be entering 6th Grade...all they said was if he did the work sucessfully in France for 5th Grade they would accept him into 6th and I don't even have to translate his records because they will just give it to their French teacher! So even in the same school district things are handle differently in each school which can be pretty frustrating!

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    caheinz is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    As a note...

    Why not just let him take the test, without special preparation?

    The point of a placement test is to find out where a kid is now, and then place them into the appropriate class based on the knowledge they have. Prepping him for the test might lead to an inflated score, and placement into a a class he's not really prepared for yet.
    Cheryl
    mommy to three boys: A, 3/04
    and identical twins B and D, arrived 9/08

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    Quote Originally Posted by caheinz View Post
    As a note...

    Why not just let him take the test, without special preparation?

    The point of a placement test is to find out where a kid is now, and then place them into the appropriate class based on the knowledge they have. Prepping him for the test might lead to an inflated score, and placement into a a class he's not really prepared for yet.
    I agree somewhat...

    Actually I am not looking to prep him but he has been in France for the past 4yrs and their emphasis in primary school years tend to be quite different then those in the US (for the good or the bad it depends on your perspective!).

    Our desire in finding out what is covered on the test and/or what a current 5th Grader in the States has studyed this year in math is only to reassure him that he will be able to do the test and that even though some of the material may be new to him that the majority of it he can do.

    It is a bit stressful for a kid to be told that he has to take a placement test in math to see what track he will be on when you have been studying in another country for 4yrs!

    I will be honest though we are currently "prepping" him for is the American systems of weights since he does the metric system here.

    So I don't think that his score will be undully inflated by our seeking out information so to have the comparision of what he knows and what his peers in the States this year have seen. We really just want to reassure ourselves and DS that he has seen most of the same things as the other kids taking the test but many not in the same depth!

    And if there are huge difference in the material in the US vs France prepare him that he will be in a lower level of math next year... but with the international move this summer I prefer to do that slowly than drop the bomb in August to him
    Last edited by plusbellelavie; 05-26-2010 at 12:17 AM.

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